Tonight I completed my first of eight classes on sustainable design principles at The Cleveland Institute of Art, a four year college with graduates working in fields ranging from auto design to product design to fine arts. The class will introduce us to principles of sustainable design (meeting a design objective without harm to the environment and community) ranging from architecture to bioclimatic design. We will also discuss topics of permaculture and community planning. I have no idea of what permaculture or bioclimatic design mean exactly, but hey this is why I'm taking the course! This will be a very hands on class as we are expected to identify a project using a site in the area that could benefit from a sustainable design approach. My class mates are an italian aerospace engineer and another green banker. We will compare and contrast development of our projects using conventional measures against sustainable measures. The project must be presented using drawings and plans (uh oh) and have the goal of convincing a developer to invest in the more holistic option. Next week's assignment is to discuss three possible project ideas. Any thoughts on types of projects? I'm thinking about community gardening, but that has been done quite a bit in my city. Guess I will be really taking a hard look at my community and issues affecting our communities in general over the next week in search of ideas. I will use some of the ideas of the winners of the Re-Burbia (redesign the suburbs) contest for inspiration. The assigned book for the course is "Cradle to Cradle", by McDonough and Braungart. I will keep you posted!